You’ve helped them make the right choices throughout those key years. You’re supporting them through university to get the best qualification they can. Now it’s time to navigate the really tough bit: nailing a top graduate job.

A more competitive job market has forced every applicant to change their approach to job hunting. The simple truth is that your son or daughter will need to invest a lot more time and energy in self-promotion if they’re to secure a decent job.

Changing times…

In the 1990s, simply having a degree may have been enough to clinch a role that was lucrative, fulfilling and lasted for decades. Today’s job market is entirely different. Intellect, drive and choosing the right university all count, but they won’t guarantee a dream graduate job.

There’s so much competition nowadays, compared to twenty or thirty years ago. In the early 1960s, only 4% of school leavers went to university: this figure rose to around 14% by the end of the 1970’s. The latest statistics reveal that 44% of candidates hold a degree, and in 2018, nearly 70% of those were awarded firsts.

So not only are there more graduates in the UK than ever before, your son or daughter is also competing with applicants from all over the world for roles that reflect the shift in society. As a StudentRoom member points out, our economy is knowledge-based. “We are no longer a nation who hammered rivets into pieces of steel, dug coal out of the ground with a pick or carried cargo off a ship by hand for a living – there are machines for that. We do however need engineers and highly skilled and trained people to add value to our society.

A few facts about the current graduate job market

  • At least a sixth of places on the top graduate programmes now offer starting salaries of more than £40,000: this year, nine of the country’s best-known graduate employers are paying salaries in excess of £45,000.
  • The most generous salaries in 2019 are those on offer from the investment banks (median of £47,000), law firms (median of £45,000) and consulting firms (median of £45,000).
  • The ten universities targeted by the largest number of top graduate employers are Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Warwick, University College London, Cambridge, Nottingham, Durham, Leeds and Oxford.

Maximising opportunities

Given the surge in undergraduate numbers, university career services are often under-resourced and overstretched. They aren’t always able to give specialist advice and they may not have the time for one-to-one coaching. Add to this the current economic climate and uncertainty about Brexit, and supporting your son or daughter is more important than ever.

Finding your dream graduate job will take time, so it’s never too soon to start laying the foundations. You can help them increase their employability before they graduate in lots of ways.

graduate job

Spring Weeks

For example, if your son or daughter is interested in investment banking, check out Spring Weeks which are insight programmes from big name banks including JPMorganChase, Credit Suisse, CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs.

Most Spring Weeks take place in London during March and April (in the Easter holidays). Applications open in late August or early September and most close in December or early January. In theory, Spring Weeks are open to everyone. In practice, 99% of participants are from places like Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Warwick, and other Russell Group universities.

Spring Week enables your son or daughter to network, ask questions and find out if banking is the right career choice. Importantly, it will boost their chances of getting a full internship or graduate job later.

This is because major banks use Spring Week to identify talent early and to kick-start their summer internship application process. Occasionally, they’ll even offer internships at the end of the Spring Week placement.

Unsurprisingly, the application process is very competitive – it’s not unusual for banks to receive several thousand applications for just 50-60 places.

So help them get ahead of the game. Your son or daughter can boost their chances by making sure their one page CV and covering letter is tailored to their application. Our vast experience with this type of application means we know how to target these CVs, can advise on how to approach online tests and provide interview coaching as well as preparation for assessment centres. Simply put, we’ll make sure your son or daughter is in the strongest position for success, from the moment they apply, to setting up a professional LinkedIn profile before their placement.

Key graduate recruiters

As well as Spring Week, there are other ways you can help them promote themselves with key graduate recruiters. Here are a few of our top tips:

* Encourage your son or daughter to go to networking events, drinks evenings, dinners and to join the Bright Network.

* Use your own network. Identify who you know that might be able to help. This could be work experience, job shadowing or a summer internship. It’s even better if international travel is involved.

* Your time may be limited. Why not buy them a gift voucher so that our experts can boost their chances of landing a fantastic job. If they’re about to graduate, take a look at our graduate programmes tailored to tick the boxes for a host of top-level roles.

Apart from a solid degree from a top university, what else does it take to get onto the career ladder? We know from experience that employers want to see strong evidence of soft skills—like communication, leadership, analytical and team working skills — as well as self-awareness, relevant work and voluntary experience, extracurricular activities, university societies, entrepreneurial, and commercial acumen and evidence of dedication to a chosen career. Careers advisors talk about the importance of a growth mindset, reinforcing the attitude towards lifelong learning because of the way the world of work is changing.

You’ve given them roots, now give them wings.

If you have any other questions about how to help your son or daughter land their dream graduate role, give us a call on 020 7100 6656 or email us at You can also check out our blog for the latest tips and techniques to create and finesse the perfect CV.